Dick Hebdige1
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  • 1 University of California, Santa Barbara
Swimming ... Floating ... Sinking ... Drowning
in Film Studies
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The body in the swimming pool as metonym for trouble in paradise is a recurrent motif bordering on cliché in Hollywood/West Coast sunshine noir. Through an intermedial survey of film, TV and literary fiction, photography, design and architectural history, crime and environmental, reportage, public health and safety documents this article examines the domestic swimming pools ambiguous status as a symbol of realised utopia within the Californian mythos from the boom years of the backyard oasis in the wake of the Second World War to the era of mass foreclosures, restricted water usage and ambient dread inaugurated by 9/11, the global recession and the severest drought in the states recorded rainfall history.

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